DENR orders closure of 14 small-scale mining plants in Agusan Del Sur

Marje Pelayo   •   June 13, 2018   •   5510

 

One of the illegal small-scale mining plants in Agusan Del Sur (Photo courtesy of DENR 13)

 

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Mines and Geosciences Bureau has ordered the closure of 14 illegal small-scale mining plants in Agusan Del Sur this month.

It was in line with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte and with the observance of Environment Month.

Among the violations of the said mining plants were lack of permit and inaccurate excavation that could lead to landslides.

According to Gerzon Gallego, spokesperson of DENR Caraga, the provincial government of Agusan Del Sur already issued a cease-and-desist order to 84 small-scale mining operations in the province.

However, only 14 were ordered closed so far.

“Sinabihan sila na, ‘Kung di niyo ititigil yan isasara na namin yan’. Talagang may gagawing action ang DENR dahil may order,” Gallego said.

(They’ve been warned, “If you do not stop, we will shut you down.” The DENR will definitely take action because there is an order.)

Meanwhile, the municipal governments are working on providing alternative livelihood source to miners and residents affected by the closure. – Raymund Octobre / Marje Pelayo

DENR rejects calls to reconsider lifting of moratorium on mining, cites source of fund needed

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has rejected calls from environmental groups for the agency to review its decision to lift the ban on mining.

In a virtual briefing on Monday (April 19), Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones cited the country’s need for funds especially considering the current COVID-19 crisis.

The decision, stated in Executive Order 130, allows the government to enter into new mining agreements.

“Sa ngayon hindi natin pagtutuunan ng pansin ang ganyan dahil kailangan natin kasi, marami tayong mga problema ngayon sa ating bansa na kailangan natin ng pagkukuhanan ng pondo,” Leones said during Monday’s Laging Handa virtual press briefing.

The official said the mining industry is a significant source of funds in addressing COVID-19.

“At isa ito (mining) sa nakita natin, isa sa mga paraan na para tayo makaahon ng konti, para naman magamit natin mga pondong makukuha natin para din sa…like sa COVID-19 activities, pagbibigay ng ayuda sa mga mamamayan,” he added.

Currently, Leones said there are some 100 mining projects from which the government expects to gain P21 billion in revenues from excise taxes and royalty.

However, it will take up to five years before the government benefits from it.

Leones assured that the government is not just considering gaining from the sector but likewise ensuring a balance between environmental aspects and economic aspects.

Fatal landslide in Brgy. Runruno, N. Vizcaya caused by severe weather, not mining – MGB

Marje Pelayo   •   November 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) ruled out mining activity as the cause of the landslide that occurred in Brgy. Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya on November 11 during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

In a press release Thursday (November 26), MGB Regional Director Mario Ancheta, “the fatal landslide was triggered by the inclement weather conditions resulting in ground saturation and eventual landslide and not due to small scale mining activity as earlier reported.”

Geologists and technical personnel from MGB Region 2 were sent to conduct a site inspection at the landslide areas where ten individuals were killed, including a two-month old baby and leaving two others injured.

Ancheta added that residents were already recommended for relocation based on a geohazard assessment result conducted by the MGB on September 18, showing that Sitios Bit-ang, Balcony, Compound, and Kinalabasa are highly or critically susceptible to natural hazards.

“The result of the assessment was presented to the community including the residents of sitio Bit-ang, Compound, Balcony, and Kinalabasa,” Ancheta said.

After the incident, the official stressed that “evacuation of the illegal settlers within the landslide prone areas should be strictly implemented.” MNP / Raymund David

Young NPA fighter thankful for being saved by the ‘enemy’

Marje Pelayo   •   November 6, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Rebel combatant alias ‘Kent’ was lost for words over his experience in the hands of his “enemies” – the soldiers of the 29th Infantry Battalion – after an encounter in San Isidro, Santiago, Agusan del Norte.

‘Kent’ sustained three gunshot wounds during the crossfire on November 2.

The soldiers captured him as he could no longer walk due to his injury.

He thought that was the end for him.

“Naka-set na sa isip ko na papatayin ako talaga kasi susuko (I set my mind that I would be killed if I surrender),” he said in his local dialect.

“Ang sabi nila kapag may giyera, papatayin ka kapag nahuli ka ng Army (They say in war, you will be killed if the Army captures you),” he added.

But to his surprise, the soldiers brought him to a nearby hospital and while gasping for air, he heard the soldiers telling him to hold on and try to survive.

The young NPA fighter is now recovering from his wound while the military is working on the possible assistance he may receive once he officially decommissions from the rebel group.

“Ang una nating ginagawa ngayon ay maka recover muna siya (What we are focusing on first is his recovery),” said Maj. Francisco Garelllo, the spokesperson of the 402 Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army who handles the case of alias Kent.

‘Kent’ was recruited to the New People’s Army (NPA) when he was only 16 years old.

He realized he spent his two years fighting for the wrong side.

He said he has decided to return to the government and start a new life with his family.

 “Sinasabi naman nila sa akin na, ‘Dapat mabuhay ka kasi sisikapin naming mabuhay ka,’” Kent said of the soldiers who rescued him.

“Kaya pinilit ko ring maka-survive,” he concluded. – MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

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